Energy Solutions has moved into its new headquarters in the Atrium Building at 449 15th Street in downtown Oakland CA. The Atrium Building is a survivor that has evolved with changes in Oakland. It was originally a bank built in the 1920s, had an additional story added in the late 1940s when it became a department store, and then received seismic upgrades and an Atrium when it was converted into an office building in the early 1980s.
Locating our business in the downtown core supports Oakland’s revitalization efforts and encourages biking, walking, and mass transit use for employees and visitors. The floor plans provide private and open offices, meeting rooms, and support space for the company’s growing staff. Our new space also includes a conference facility with state-of-the-art AV equipment and dedicated cooling that allow us to accommodate groups of up to 60 people in comfort. Sam Cohen, the president of Energy Solutions, and the building owner, explains: “Our goal was to create a comfortable and productive work environment that reflects the company’s sustainability values and which showcases energy efficiency and demand response technologies”.
Before the new construction began, all reusable materials were salvaged for future use, given away, or sent to Urban Ore, a local company dedicated to material reuse and diversion from landfills. Metal framing, wiring, and sheet metal were recycled. Unpainted wood was used in erosion control projects.
New construction included floor plan changes, lighting and HVAC upgrades, and new finishes. We configured the floor plan to include numerous interior windows to maximize daylight from the building’s exterior and its atrium. The new dimmable LED fixtures throughout the offices are controlled by a Daintree system with occupancy and daylight sensors, which gives occupants control over their individual work spaces. Most employees can enjoy natural light and rarely need to turn on the LED troffer light fixtures; Energy Solutions’ lights operate at 15% of capacity during occupied hours. Hallway, stairwell, and parking garage lighting are different types of LED fixtures, all of which are controlled by occupancy sensors. We also plan to install a STEM battery system to further reduce electrical load during peak demand times.
We replaced the building’s aging chiller with digitally controlled package units that are much more efficient. On each floor, we upgraded the old and unreliable pneumatic HVAC system to digital controls, created more zones, and ensured that the separate heating and cooling systems no longer compete against each other, which all reduces the floors’ energy loads and makes for a more comfortable office.
For open office spaces, we bought used cubicles for a full office floor, which further helped divert materials from the waste stream. Conference room furniture is mostly used oak furniture that has been refinished to match and will outlast particleboard alternatives. Other notable upgrades include recycled-content carpeting, zero-VOC paint, and ENERGY STAR appliances. A heat pump water heater provides hot water for the showers. We also built a secure and well-lit bicycle cage with 25 stalls for employees. Energy Solutions offers a $500 incentive to employees that purchase Electric Vehicles and has a free EV charging station for employees and visitors.
We invite you to come by, visit our space, and see how state-of-the-art technologies create an efficient, comfortable space, in a repurposed historical building.